Facilities Services in high demand as pests plague student housing

Wren Hall is pictured on September 14, 2021. Michelle Li / The Tufts Daily

The start of the semester marks the return of students, professors and staff alike to campus, which means the facilities department is inevitably in high demand. This year, among other issues, students are facing pests in their dormitories.

Sophomore suitemates Tommy MacArthur and Aaron Klein experienced a series of issues in their suite in Wren Hall.

“When we first moved in, there was just tape everywhere, and chipped paint,” Klein said. “Our [bathroom lock] was busted off and recreated using Gorilla Tape. …  One of our suitemates also has no screen in his window.”

MacArthur decided to contact Facilities Services when they discovered they also had a pest problem in the dorm: cockroaches.

“Our second night here, I was going to bed, it was maybe 2:30 in the morning,” MacArthur said. “Aaron knocks on my door, says, ‘There’s a roach in my room, come kill it.’”

Klein said his suite filed multiple work orders to alert facilities about these problems.

“Pretty quickly, I put in three work orders,” Klein said. “I put in a work order for the bathroom stall lock, which was made of Gorilla Tape. I put in the work order for a missing screen in our common room window … and then I put in a work order about roaches.”

Yu Otaki also contacted Facilities Services for a pest problem in her dorm. Otaki, a sophomore, said she and her suitemates found rat droppings and cockroaches in their suite in Hillside Apartments. 

“We found some rat poop laying around on the kitchen and the floors,” Otaki said. “We’ve also found cockroaches in our bathroom … We actually had called maintenance separately for rats and for cockroaches … they put down mousetraps and cockroach traps.”

Cory Pouliot, senior facilities director, coordinates the year-round activity to keep campus life running smoothly,and said the facilities department takes reports of pests seriously. 

“Tufts provides extermination and will respond immediately when we learn of a pest concern in any of our buildings, especially residential halls,” Pouliot said. “We partner with a great pest control company that is very responsive and has been proactive with addressing student concerns.”

Pouliot shared that Klein, MacArthur and Otaki were not the only students submitting work orders soon after move-in.

“From the time students began to return in August through Sept. 15, we have received more than 2500 work requests,” Pouliot said.

Otaki noted that Facilities Services has responded quickly to her requests, and Klein echoed this.

“With all my personal interactions with [Facilities Services], they’ve been nothing but kind and understanding,” Klein said.

Klein and MacArthur said they saw fast action from facilities staff to try to resolve their problem.

“The first [work order] that was marked as completed was actually the roaches,” Klein said. “That was marked as completed, I’d say, within about two days.”

However, the attempts have not been completely successful.

“We saw roaches after that point, so as far as I can tell nothing happened,” Klein said. “The tricky part is, admittedly, roaches are not an easy thing to deal with.”

Otaki agreed that Facilities Services’ response did not fully resolve the problem.

“We just had a cockroach yesterday, and they did all that stuff,” Otaki said. “Every time I go into the bathroom I get a little freaked out.”

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